Rev. Fr. Gerald Thomas Hanley
Father Jerry returned to his Lord peacefully, in his sleep, on May 28, 2021. Born October 16, 1936, the second of seven children born to Thomas and Dolores (Foley) Hanley. Cherishing his memory are his sisters Mary Joann Adams, Maureen Plumb (Gerry), his sister-in-law Denise Hanley and his brothers Robert (Gail) Hanley and Kevin Hanley. In addition seventeen nieces and nephews as well as a litany of friends. Preceding him in death are Fr. Jerry's parents Thomas and Dolores and his brothers Jack and Dennis.
"Make me a channel of your peace. Where there is hatred let me bring your love."
Fr. Jerry was raised in Detroit, Michigan where he attended and graduated from St. Rita High School. He soon gained employment in the automotive business and over the years developed into a top steel sales engineer with the Firth Sterling Company.
Fr. Jerry is also a U.S. Army veteran having served honorably for ten years in the reserves.
In the 1960's Fr. Jerry took an active role in St. Rita's parish by serving on the parish council and the regional synod. Through his input, guidance and resolve he partnered with others to assist in making St. Rita's a thriving, helping community. Fr. Jerry also continued his studies as a student at the University of Detroit. He began to feel a calling.
"Make me a channel of your peace. Where there's despair in life let me bring hope. Where there is darkness only light."
In 1968, Fr. Jerry answered his Lord's call and enrolled in a special Catholic seminary, in Weston, MA, designed specifically for men with late vocations. And in 1973 Fr. Jerry received his Master of Divinity when he was ordained at his home parish, St. Rita's, in Detroit. After his ordination Fr. Jerry ventured west to Nevada to perform his priestly ministries. First, a four year assignment in Las Vegas and then a transfer to St. Teresa of Avilla parish in Carson City. Little did Fr. Jerry know that great miracles would occur over the next thirty years at St. Teresa of Avilla.
"Oh Master, grant that I may never seek so much to be consoled as to console. To be understood as to understand. To be loved as to love with all my soul."
Fr. Jerry's leadership role at St. Teresa's expanded into the Carson City community. Recognizing an immediate need for assistance in the social services sector Fr. Jerry partnered with other neighborhood parishes and created the organization "Friends in Service Helping" (FISH). Fr. Jerry's philosophy, is "When you put your heart and soul into something to make it happen, then God keeps it going. It is a blessing."
"Make me a channel of your peace. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. It is giving to all men that we receive. And in dying that we are born to eternal life."
Fr. Jerry enjoyed his reading. From spy novels to historical non-fiction and everything in between. Fr. Jerry loved to sing. He fancied himself as a great Irish tenor. And of the thousands of us who have heard him sing "Danny Boy" not a one of us would tell him otherwise.
"Love is patient, and love is kind. And in the end there will always be love."
A scripture service will take place at 2:00 pm on Friday, June 4, 2021, at the Elton Black & Son Funeral Chapel, 3295 E. Highland Road, Highland, Michigan 48356. Fr. Jerry's family will receive friends at the funeral home on Friday from 11:00 am until the time of the service at 2:00 pm. In accordance with Fr. Jerry's wishes, cremation will follow.
Published by The Detroit News & Detroit Free Press from Jun. 1 to Jun. 3, 2021.